NCAA Football News
It's been an eventful offseason for 5-star quarterback and current Florida State pledge Malik Henry.
He's changed his address, moving from California to Florida powerhouse IMG Academy, and he earned MVP honors at the Atlanta Nike Opening Regional camp last month—which also resulted in him garnering an invitation to The Opening.
Now, Henry has more news that will undoubtedly excite Seminoles fans.
"I'm graduating early, so in a few months, I'll officially be a Seminole," Henry told Bleacher Report.
Henry confirmed those plans to Bleacher Report via text on April 8.
Florida State is seeking to replace Jameis Winston this fall, but Henry could eventually be the long-term answer for Jimbo Fisher's club moving forward.
The 6'3", 180-pounder is the nation's No. 9 player overall, the second-best pro-style passer in the country and the crown jewel of FSU's top-rated recruiting class.
Getting him on campus early is sure to help him get adjusted to Fisher's offense and make the transition to the college level.
Henry—who is also a standout baseball player—has been busy adjusting to his new home since he arrived at IMG. In fact, he's yet to make it up to Tallahassee since he committed to the Seminoles last November.
However, according to Chris Nee of Noles247, that will change this weekend, as he's set to be part of a loaded visitor list heading to Tallahassee for FSU's spring game.
Accompanying him on that trip will be 4-star tight end and fellow new IMG product and FSU pledge Isaac Nauta.
Henry notes that he and Nauta, who is his roommate at IMG, have grown particularly close. The two have been working to develop a chemistry that Henry hopes will carry over to the next level.
His performance in Atlanta was one that Henry said is a reflection of the work he's put in over the offseason.
"I just want to go out there everyday and work hard to prove that I'm the best quarterback in the nation," Henry said. "That's what I look at myself as. It's not me being cocky, either. That's just the confidence I carry within myself. I'm very confident in my game. When I put my mind to something, I'm going to do it."
Henry said that he also remains in contact with Fisher and tight ends coach Tim Brewster. In particular, Fisher told him to enjoy his last few months on the prep level before he arrives in Tallahassee.
"He was just telling me to enjoy my senior season and enjoy the time with my friends in high school," Henry said. "He also wants me to build that chemistry with Isaac since he's coming up there with me for sure. Otherwise, just have fun with it."
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand, and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
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With 71 offers, 4-star offensive lineman Parker Boudreaux of Orlando, Florida, is having the time of his life with his recruiting process. In addition to making unofficial visits this spring, he's also having fun being an unofficial celebrity look-alike.
"Brock Lesnar. I probably get that one every day," Boudreaux said, referring to the popular professional wrestling and mixed martial arts athlete who recently re-signed with WWE. "I'll get [Ivan] Drago from Rocky. I'll get [Brian] Bosworth. Everybody has something. It's pretty funny."
Now standing 6'4" and 295 pounds, Boudreaux is one of the few who can actually stare Lesnar eye to eye size-wise. What college coaches like about the 2016 lineman is that he has a similar mean streak on the football field as Lesnar shows at WWE events. The attitude definitely works as an offensive lineman.
Boudreaux, 17, takes the celebrity comparisons all in stride (he likes the Lesnar comparison—see his Twitter page), much like the recruiting process in general. The nation's No. 9 offensive guard isn't in any rush to make a decision about his college future, but he is making the spring count with several visits around the country. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were his latest stops, as he was in Norman last Thursday and Friday, and in Stillwater last Saturday.
Entering the week, Ole Miss and Auburn had been among his favorite visits this spring. Boudreaux said Oklahoma is right up there with the others, as he is a fan of the overall campus environment and the coaching staff.
"Norman's really cool. The fans are awesome, really nice people," Boudreaux said. "There's like 40,000 students at Oklahoma, and the farthest walk is like 12 minutes from everything. The campus is real nice. It's a real college town. I'm loving it here."
Boudreaux added that he likes the fact that Oklahoma has a great academic support system. That's one thing he said head coach Bob Stoops and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh have been stressing to him.
While it is still early in the process, Boudreaux said Oklahoma could be a strong contender when it's time to make his decision. One school to keep an eye on, however, is Oklahoma State, as he gave his trip to Stillwater high marks.
"Best facilities I've seen so far," Boudreaux said about Oklahoma State. "They have awesome, really straight-up coaches. The culture around the program is pretty cool. The campus is beautiful, and everywhere is walkable."
Recruited by Oklahoma State offensive line coach Greg Adkins and head coach Mike Gundy, Boudreaux considered the trip a pleasant surprise. He also likes the fact that early playing time in a high-octane offense is a possibility in Gundy's system.
"They only took a couple of offensive linemen for the 2015 class, so it is an amazing time to come in and play as a freshman," Boudreaux said. "I really enjoyed my visit at OSU."
Boudreaux said his final unofficial visit will be at Notre Dame this summer. In the month of March alone, Boudreaux, per his 247Sports timeline, made unofficial stops to South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama and Auburn. He also attended Clemson for a junior day.
Boudreaux said Ole Miss has a great tradition and overall culture that fit him. He said Alabama was "better than expected" and has solid facilities and friendly people. He's been to Auburn three times and said he enjoys the family atmosphere. Boudreaux said all three schools, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have genuine coaches who he can see himself playing for.
Boudreaux plays tackle at Bishop Moore Catholic, but he will line up at guard at the college level. He bench presses 365 pounds, squats 460 and deadlifts 535. The combination of early playing time, quality academics and overall comfort level with the coaching staff and the campus will help Boudreaux make a decision when that time comes.
For now, he said he's just having fun with it all. Much like he is with the celebrity look-alike chatter.
Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles
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The fate of the University of Georgia's 2015 season falls on the legs of standout running back Nick Chubb following his superb freshman year in Athens, Georgia.
The Georgia Bulldogs finished 10-3 last season following a 37-14 victory over the Louisville Cardinals in the Belk Bowl. Chubb carried the ball 33 times for 266 yards and two touchdowns on that day.
In order for the Bulldogs to finish above the Missouri Tigers in the SEC East and challenge for a spot in the College Football Playoff, Georgia needs the 5'10", 228-pound tailback to run rampant all season long.
Georgia returns an even more experienced and dominant defense with the return of stalwart linebackers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt's side of the ball should continue to be at the top of the ranks in the SEC.
The real problem falls in replacing the production of several key offensive players who are no longer with the Bulldogs following the 2014 season. The man to fill these voids is the likely preseason Heisman Trophy candidate Chubb.
The Cedartown, Georgia, native showed explosion and power throughout his first season, which made college football fans' mouths water across the country. The halfback's ability to turn the corner and his determination to cross into the end zone were on clear display against Florida last year.
Under head coach Mark Richt, the Bulldogs average nearly 480 rushing attempts per year. Chubb received 219 carries in his freshman campaign, but that total is definitely going to increase next season with the departure of Todd Gurley. The likely future first-round pick compiled 123 carries in his suspension- and injury-riddled 2014 season.
Since Richt's arrival in 2001, there have only been two seasons in which one running back accounted for more than 50% of Georgia's team rushing attempts. However, when Gurley was out of the lineup last year, Chubb was responsible for just under 57% of the team's carries, and the workload is not likely to be any more balanced this upcoming season, according to Bleacher Report's Andrew Hall.
"The state of Georgia's backfield lends itself to a disproportionately large concentration on Chubb," Hall said. "Put bluntly: It's hard to quantify exactly how valuable Georgia's other options will be in 2015."
Fellow rising sophomore Sony Michel contributed 410 yards and five touchdowns in 2014 but appeared in only eight games for the Bulldogs.
The other running back likely to share some of work is Keith Marshall, but his health is far from reliable at this point. Marshall was the second-ranked running back in the 2012 recruiting class, the same class as Gurley, and rushed for 759 yards and eight touchdowns his freshman year. However, the talented prospect has not re-established himself in the Georgia backfield since suffering a knee injury in the middle of the 2013 season.
On top of replacing Gurley, the Bulldogs will also have to replace last year's starting quarterback, Hutson Mason. The graduating senior was the latest of a long line of stellar Georgia quarterbacks including Aaron Murray and Matthew Stafford.
There is no clear replacement for Mason, as Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Jacob Park are battling to become the team's head signal-caller. This transformation could affect the Bulldog's play-calling next season, but last year's Belk Bowl provided some insight into the mindset of Richt.
Mason left the game in the in the second quarter due to injury, leaving the Georgia head coach without a reliable quarterback. In this situation, he decided to go back to old faithful.
The Bulldogs ran the ball on 68 percent of their offensive plays and averaged 5.5 yards per attempt against Louisville's second-ranked rush defense, per Bleacher Report's Ben Kercheval.
"With a new quarterback under center—freshman Brice Ramsey filled in for an injured Mason—there should be a heavy lean on the run game," Kercheval said.
"It's what Georgia does best anyway. In fact, there's a case to be made that Georgia shouldn't attempt a pass under any circumstance. Ever.”
The Bulldogs ran the ball an astounding 555 times for 3,352 yards compared to throwing 322 passes to gain 2,599 yards in the air last season. With the uncertainty at quarterback, Georgia could rely even more heavily on the running game next year.
The question is whether Chubb can remain healthy throughout the entire season. The running back is working hard this offseason to best prepare his body for the punishment it will endure next year.
Based on the total number of carries for Georgia in 2014, Chubb will tote the rock an absurd 316 times if he continues to carry the ball 57% of the time in Gurley's absence.
Chubb underwent surgery last season to fix a broken thumb but remained relatively healthy otherwise. However, carrying the ball as many times as Richt and the coaching staff will probably like may be too much work for any running back to withstand.
Chubb's ability to continue to produce and remain healthy while his body racks up more miles will make or break Georgia's 2015 campaign. A standout season by the rising sophomore will help nullify the questions surrounding other positions for the Bulldogs.
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Spring ball reaches its end next weekend when the Longhorns kick off their spring game. No matter which team they work with, every Longhorn fan will have eyes on Jerrod Heard and Malik Jefferson.
Charlie Strong's second spring game is packed with intrigue. It will be the general public's first look at Heard and Jefferson in Longhorn uniforms, the new uptempo offense and an overhauled defense that lost no fewer than five of its best players.
Beyond the two former top recruits, the new offensive workhorses and the defense's unheralded top player will be must-see when the Horns take the field April 18.
1. QB Jerrod Heard
In all likelihood, Tyrone Swoopes starts this game with the first team. He has the most experience, has been consistent throughout spring practice and is taking a leadership role with the team.
It'd be great to see the junior play well. He just doesn't bring quite the same level of excitement to the field as Jerrod Heard, who ran for almost 5,000 yards during his high school career en route to two state titles.
Facing an uphill battle to start the spring, Heard has started to turn heads as a passer, and Strong said the redshirt freshman was the better player during Monday's practice. With reports emerging that he's progressing as a passer, the competition with Swoopes is getting closer.
Heard's improvement through the air will be interesting in the biggest scrimmage of the year, but his legs will bring the real excitement. After all, the Longhorns are now running an offense he ran to perfection in high school, and his explosiveness adds an element that gives defenses nightmares.
With some big runs and a couple of nice throws in a game setting, Heard can do himself a lot of favors to close spring practice.
2. LB Malik Jefferson
Malik Jefferson has been a college athlete for less than three months, and his coaches are already trying to find ways to put him on the field whenever possible.
The No. 1 recruit in the state this past cycle, Jefferson has lived up to the hype this spring. The remarkable young athlete looks no worse than the backup to Naashon Hughes at the hybrid "Fox" position, and he's been among the first players to get a look inside following Dalton Santos' injury.
To summarize, Jefferson is basically getting looks at three different positions within his first two weeks of collegiate practice. He's shown the size and strength to rush the passer, the speed to drop into coverage and the instincts to diagnose plays as a middle linebacker, though the latter hasn't come quite as naturally.
247Sports' Jeff Howe has more on Jefferson's recent work on the inside:
The biggest happening at linebacker was Malik Jefferson worked on the inside. He had been on the outside and worked behind Hughes at the Fox some, but the coaches wanted to get a look at him in the middle.
It was a learning day for Jefferson, who got consistent feedback from Brian Jean-Mary. Jefferson got barked at a few times for being out of position or missing an assignment, but it clearly looks like the staff is pushing him as hard and as fast as they can knowing they're going to need him to play this fall and possibly multiple positions.
Few of these 5-star, can't-miss recruits have panned out for Texas of late. Rest assured that Jefferson is already too good with too much remaining upside to disappoint like Garrett Gilbert or Taylor Bible.
Watch this guy go to work every chance you get or else you'll regret it.
3. WR Dorian Leonard
Dorian Leonard validated his coaches' praise with a ridiculous one-handed grab in drills. However, it's what got him noticed in the first place that should intrigue Longhorn fans.
Strong has mentioned Leonard's work in all three of his press conferences this spring, and it's easy to see why. At 6'3", 203 pounds, he's one of the few receivers on the roster with the length and size to play every down on the outside.
Even with only one career reception under his belt, those traits give Leonard a great chance at being a key contributor this season. Anyone who doubts Texas' desire to feed receivers of his type should note that 1,000-yard wideout John Harris only had nine catches before last season.
Leonard will compete with Lorenzo Joe all offseason, but he's been the guy so far this spring and looks like a starter. Expect some big plays from Texas' next No. 1 receiver against a depleted secondary in the spring game.
4. S Jason Hall
If you're a fan of old school, hard-hitting football, then Jason Hall should be one of your favorite Longhorns. He's also one of the most talented players on the team in spite of those who have forgotten what he brings to the table.
As noted by Howe, a healthy Hall was a freshman All-American. He wasn't as productive as Virginia's Quin Blanding, but his numbers were right on par with LSU's Jamal Adams despite being hampered by a knee injury for the second half of the season.
When he's at full speed, there's nothing Hall can't do from the safety position. He's solid in coverage, and anyone who was on the business end of his aggressive style will check the closet for him next time they square off.
Seriously, Strong had to tell him to stop hitting his teammates so hard on Monday.
Horns Digest's Chip Brown thinks Hall could lose his job to incoming freshman DeShon Elliott. Don't count on it, because Texas needs a fiery leader like this on the field as much as possible, and Hall has too much talent to be written off like that.
He'll make a play or two that will have you aching for real football. That you can count on.
5. RB Johnathan Gray
The last time we saw Johnathan Gray going to work in an uptempo offense, he was slicing and dicing his way to a 1,000-yard season. Behind an improved offensive line, he should be even better as a senior.
Gray just wasn't right for most of 2014. The Achilles tear he sustained in late 2013 robbed him of his trademark acceleration and agility, making him an undersized straight-line runner for much of the year.
The speedy back eventually found his wheels against Texas Tech, West Virginia and Oklahoma State, but poor play from his blockers kept him under wraps thereafter.
This season, Gray gets back to the scheme he excelled within, telling the media, "I love this offense." What should really excite Longhorn fans is he believes in his offensive line, stating the following in that same interview:
Those guys have shocked me, actually. They don't need any motivation. They go out there and work 100 percent. They work hard, too. That's what you want to see in young guys, and I think they know what they're supposed to do and what we're trying to get done and accomplished. Those guys are ready, I think.
Per CFBstats.com, Gray's 86.7 yards per game were among the nation's top 50 in 2013, all while working in tandem with Malcolm Brown. While there are some intriguing talents battling it out for starting jobs at receiver and along that improving offensive line, Gray's the workhorse the offense will lean on.
He's second only to the quarterback in terms of importance to this revamped attack.
Unless otherwise noted, all stats and information courtesy ofTexasSports.com.
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Saturday in Athens is back, as the Bulldogs will take part in the G-Day Game this Saturday.
This is only a small taste of what to expect from the Bulldogs this upcoming season, but that doesn’t mean fans aren’t excited to see the Bulldogs banging heads at Sanford Stadium.
What fans are the most excited about is the new players who will take the field on Saturday. The Bulldogs have some talented incoming freshmen playing in the game, and this will be the first time those players will get a taste of what Athens will be like in the fall.
However, there are also some players to watch who have been on the roster and are either looking to make a comeback or earn a starting spot after being a reserve.
So, who are the players fans need to keep an eye on as they watch the spring game?
Jacob Park, QB
Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta are looking like they have the edge on Jacob Park when it comes to the starting quarterback competition.
But Park could be the most talented of the three, and he will get a chance to prove it on Saturday.
Park worked with the scout team last year, and the coaches loved the way he was able to simulate the opposing quarterbacks. Now that he’s a redshirt freshman, Park is battling Ramsey and Bauta for the No. 1 quarterback spot.
Park has the arm and mobility to be a great quarterback for the Bulldogs. He may be down on the depth chart, but there is still plenty of time for him to move up, and it starts with a strong G-Day performance.
A.J. Turman, RB
There is no question the depth at running back is deep. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will be leading the charge this season, and Keith Marshall will also be in the mix.
With that said, fans should keep an eye on A.J. Turman because he’s having the best spring out of all the running backs.
Turman has not played in a football game since his senior high school season in 2012 because he redshirted in 2013 and was sidelined all of last season with a foot injury. But now he’s 100 percent, and he’s been playing like a guy who wants to steal carries from Chubb, Michel and Marshall.
In the second spring scrimmage last Saturday, Turman rushed for 140 yards on 22 carries and scored twice with the second-team offense.
With the coaches limiting Chubb’s work this spring, and both Marshall and Michel nursing different injuries, Turman will have a chance to show the fans what he’s made of.
Jonathan Ledbetter, DT
If there is a true freshman to watch this Saturday, it would have to be Jonathan Ledbetter from Tucker, Georgia. According to Jake Rowe of 247Sports, the defensive tackle has been impressing the coaching staff.
Ledbetter may not be a starter this season because of the depth on the defensive line, but he has proven that he can play at the college level this season and should be part of the defensive line rotation this fall.
Fans will not be disappointed when they watch Ledbetter on Saturday.
Jake Ganus, LB
The fans will also not be disappointed when they see linebacker Jake Ganus in action. The transfer from UAB has been making plays all throughout spring and is really making a case to be the starter at inside linebacker.
New #UGA inside linebacker Jake Ganus has led both of Georgia's scrimmages in tackles. Has racked up 19 tackles this spring.— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) April 4, 2015
Ganus is coming off a scrimmage where he led all defenders with 10 tackles. That is not a surprise because he led the Blazers in tackles over the last two seasons.
With this being his senior season, Ganus wants to finish his college career in strong fashion—especially with him leaving UAB due to the school shutting down the football program. He has had the best spring out of everyone on the roster, and he’ll shine again in the spring game.
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